Jon Rahm is tapping into a sense of nostalgia as he revisits the scene of his first links experience, looking to become the first player in more than two decades to win The Open and US Open in the same year.
The Spaniard enters The 149th Open at Royal St George’s as the favourite having landed his first career major at Torrey Pines last month, continuing his fine form in a year which has also included top-10 finishes at the Masters and PGA Championship.
Not since Tiger Woods in 2000 has a player completed a calendar Open double but Rahm relishes the sea air and hopes a return to a place which holds special memories could see his recently restocked trophy cabinet receive another addition.
“I love it [links golf] every time,” said Rahm, whose best result at The Open came in 2019 when he finished T11.
“You truly have to play your own game and learn from the golf course.
“You have a little bit more variety of golf and it’s unique. The ever-changing wind and weather conditions, the ever-changing state of the golf course is what makes it such a great week every time you come to the UK.
“I played the British Boys [Amateur Championship] here in 2009 and it hasn’t changed, even if I have!
“Here was my first ever links golf experience so there’s a little bit of nostalgia and I’m really excited.
“It would be pretty incredible to win both Opens in one year. It would be amazing.”
Woods is not the only legend Rahm is hoping to join in the history books this week, with the 26-year-old acutely aware of the Spanish footsteps he could follow in.
And the in-form Rahm will be a dangerous prospect at Royal St George’s as he looks to build on his San Diego success.
“You have a sense of relief after winning your first major,” he said. “For the best part of five years, because I was playing good golf, all I heard was major, major, major, as if it was easy to win one.
“There’s a bit of relief in that sense but it doesn’t really change anything. I still come with the same level of excitement and willingness to win.
“No [Spanish] player after Seve [Ballesteros] has done it [won The Open] so to give Spain that would be pretty unique as well.”
Rahm took heart from a seventh-place finish at last weekend’s Scottish Open but lost his world No.1 status to Dustin Johnson despite a performance which exceeded his own expectations.
Prior to his attempt at rescaling the summit, Rahm opened up on the medical issues he has overcome on his path to becoming a major winner as he addressed questions about his short swing.
“I have certain unique physical limitations that let me swing the way I swing and I don’t deviate from that,” he said.
“I was born with club foot in my right leg. My right foot was turned 90 degrees inside and basically upside down.
“When I was born, they relocated and broke pretty much every bone in the ankle so I was cast within 20 minutes of being born.
“Every week I had to go back to the hospital to get recast and from knee down my right leg didn’t grow at the same rate.
“I have very limited ankle mobility on my right leg and it’s a centimetre and a half shorter [than my left], so I can’t take a full swing as my right ankle doesn’t have the stability to take it.
“I had to learn from a young age to be more efficient at creating power and be consistent from a short swing.
“It’s efficient for me. The biggest lesson I can give any young player is don’t try and copy any swing, just do yours.”